Tripping the Light Fantastic: The Fantastic Four (Marvel, 2018)

So…the Fantastic Four had a rough go for the last decade or so.  They have had some memorable runs, but largely, Marvel seemed very uncommitted to the First Family of the Marvel Universe. Some of this has been believed due to forces outside comics.  With the exception of Spider-Man, Marvel seemed to marginalize the properties that they could not utilize in the MCU. This meant that they played pretty fast and loose with the properties Fox had the film rights to. But ever since it looked like Disney would be getting the film rights to the entire Fox Catalogue, the X-Men got a real solid push, leading up to this year’s return of the Uncanny X-Men title. Ever Since the Secret Wars event a couple years ago, the Fantastic Four was off the radar.

When that event ended, Reed, Sue, their kids, Molecule Man and a select group went off to recreate the alternate universes that had been destroyed in the event. Or create new ones. Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm stayed behind and spent their time hanging out with the rest of the Marvel Universe. And that is the purpose of the first issue of the all new Fantastic Four series from Marvel.

IMG_1372Most of Issue one by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli is exploring how Johnny and Ben are dealing. Johnny still holds out hope for the return of Reed, Sue and the kids.

Ben, however, has really given up hope. Time to move on. To give us a bit of story with the Four Together, Ben shares a “lost Story”.  And this is a nice enough issue.  It is a nice build up, though as a stand alone, it ends kind of…muted.

It is a prelude to the main story and it really feels like one.  But the second issue? While, the second half of a prelude?  This is a great build up.  In the second issue, we get to see what Reed, Sue and company have been up too.

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They have been, as noted earlier, been creating new alternate universes. And Val is meeting boys. Slott actually has a lot of fun with this part of the story. There is a strong community dynamic going on here, not just with the family, but with the various other individuals assisting them in their mission.

But an ancient destroyer has come to undo their work.

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When all seems lost, Reed makes a bargain that leads into the very awesome third issue.  In the third issue we get a terrific balance of super-hero action, humor and hope.  This scene actually encapsulates it very well:

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So far, Slott has shown a really nice grasp of the notions of family at the heart of the Fantastic Four. The characters feel like the the cast in the most classic sense, without feeling like the characters regressed.

A big draw for me when the series was announced, was the art of Sarah Pichelli.  Ever since I first saw her work in the original Miles Morales series (a character she co-created with Brian Michael Bendis) I just loved her style.  And the coloring by Marte Garcia in the book is really good. It is bright and colorful, fitting for the wondrous cosmic settings the book has spent most of its time in.  And it really compliments Pichelli’s artwork.

I am going to admit, upcoming issues do not appear to be drawn by Pichelli, and I am hoping this is just temporary and she will be back on the book in 2019.  But that concern does not change the fact that I really am enjoying the return of the Fantastic Four and they are off to a terrific start.

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